With the health industry booming, so has the number of health foods that are available to consumers, but Australians are still suffering from poor diets as a result of eating too many processed foods that are high in salt, saturated fat and sugar.
Susie Burrell, who is a qualified dietitian with a Masters in Coaching Psychology, says improving your nutrition and your family’s can seem like an overwhelming task, yet the ideal place to begin is with the essentials that live in your pantry.
“Staple pantry items are replenished frequently, so ensuring these foods have the highest nutritional value possible is the best way to provide your family with food that’s as natural as possible, free from added nasties and low in added fats and sugars,” Susie said. “When it comes to breads, grains and pasta, choose a wholemeal or wholegrain variety to increase the fibre and vitamin and mineral content of the meal. Always opt for Australian extra virgin olive oil as your cooking oil of choice, as its high antioxidant content protects it from damage during cooking, making it the perfect oil for your day-to-day cooking as well as a nutrient-rich salad dressing.
“Spreads, including peanut butters and chocolate varieties, are another food group that you need to look at really closely. Check the ingredients and put back anything that has added oils, sugars, salts or includes ingredients that you don’t recognise. Natural varieties are the most nutritious spread option, and you can easily tell them apart – just look for the separation of good oils at the top of the jar that every 100 per cent natural spread has. Mayver’s Smooth Peanut Butter only contains peanuts and a pinch of salt, and for a chocolate spread alternative, Mayver’s Hazelnut, Cashew and Cacao Spread is a delicious and nutritious option.”
In terms of her top pantry alternatives, Susie’s healthiest swaps include replacing white bread, pasta and rice with wholemeal or wholegrain varieties. Honey and maple syrup are great sweeteners to use in baking or on top of your muesli.
Mayver’s is an Australian family-owned natural spread company with a range of all-natural spreads that are vegan and contain no added oil, sugar, gluten, dairy, cholesterol or hardened fats. Similarly, Mayver’s Smooth Peanut Butter is a great alternative to others on the market.